Examining this issue according to what the Bible has to say on the subject of carnality and spirituality, we will first of all look at the definitions of those words Paul used when addressing the Romans.
- spiritual - of or consisting of spirit. Of the mind; moral feelings; of the soul or its affections as influenced by the divine Spirit; pure, holy; opposed to carnal.
- carnal - pertaining to flesh; sensual; opposed to spiritual; being in the natural state; unregenerate; given to sensual indulgence.
Hopefully the reader can see that the state of being Spiritual is in opposition to a state of being carnal and vice-versa. They are opposites and a person cannot be both at the same moment. As a Christian we may sin and occasionally step away from walking in the Spirit and into some carnal deed or behavior. However, it is not the normal for a Christian and continuing in carnal actions and behavior only shows us as being carnal and not Spiritual.
Notice in the definition of spiritual that we see the mind is affected. Repeatedly the Bible teaches that those who are Christians have a new mind, they see themselves, others, and the world differently than before they were born again. The Spiritual person and the carnal person have very different views in these areas and cannot hold both views at the same time.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ~ Romans 8:7
We could compare the carnal mind to a wild horse that cannot be saddled and does not want to be saddled but wants to go their own way. Carnal minds hate the idea of surrendering to any other power or authority. Yet the Spiritual mind has submitted to the authority of God and gladly seeks His favor and help by maintaining a growing relationship with Him.
In Romans eight and in 1 Corinthians three, Paul chastises the church there because they are not behaving as Christians. Even though they attend church, Paul cannot talk to them of Spiritual matters but only as he would talk to those unsaved people who do not profess Christ because they have not been changed from the carnal lusts, feelings, and views of their unsaved condition.
Paul points out to them that their claiming to be of Paul, of Apollos, or some other, that they do not have a Spiritual mindset, and he reminds them that it is Jesus Christ that is the foundation of the church and saving faith.
Those today who refer to themselves or others as being
carnal Christians are only fooling themselves into a temporary false security. Folks, there are no carnal Christians.